Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The enemy of my enemy is my friend...

The old proverb the enemy of my enemy is my friend is true for home and business owners looking to defend their plants.  Last week at New England Grows at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans gave a great lecture on natural enemies and predators in the landscape.  Her website, Buglady Consulting, has an extensive resource list.  At the top of her list, is one of my favorites, Natural Enemies Handbook.  This guide has several sections, the most important of which may be how to identify and use natural enemies to your advantage to protect your plants.


-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Friday, January 17, 2014

UMASS Newsletter Horticulture Resources

Mid January is here, New England Grows will be in 3 weeks, and after that, the spring always seems to arrive sooner than I think.  This is a good time to sign up for one or both of University of Massachusetts Extension Service Newsletters.  For homeowners, the Garden Clippings is a great resource from March to October with eight monthly newsletters.  Topics include when and what to scout for in the garden, times to plant or do maintenance tasks, current pest or disease issues.  For professionals, the Hort Notes is a great resource that comes in sixteen newsletters, twice a month, March to October with great details on planting and pruning.  They are available at this link to the UMASS Amherst Extension web site.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winter Moth, Annual appearance, on milder late fall days.

Winter moth adults will appear in large numbers around lights over the next few weeks.  Many areas have already seen winter moth adults.  These adults mate and the females lay eggs in the barks of trees they will attack.  The eggs hatch in early spring, with the larva climbing up into the canopy to consume the leaf tissue of the infested tree.  Work is underway in Massachusetts to implement some biological control measures.
The University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension is looking for reports of Winter Moth, so please report activity if you see winter moth this fall at this link to the Massachusetts Winter Moth Survey.



-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
-GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cold weather & Carpenter Ants Indoors

Carpenter Ants under leaking shower pan.
As the weather cools, carpenter ant colonies that may have moved in to structures over the summer can be more apparent indoors.  This is because as the outdoors becomes too cool for foraging, the inside of  a heated occupied structure will be the only foraging areas left.  The pictures here show a colony that moved in under a shower pan with a leak. This black mass is a large group of ants in the exposed rotted wood under the shower door.  Wet wood is ideal carpenter ant nesting material.  The arrows show other ants on the shower door base. As noted by Paul Fisette in thisUMASS article on Carpenter Ants and Termites, "if you see ants in your home and the ground outside is frozen outside, you have a problem."

 -Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lack of rainfall this fall, and this year, causes plant stress.


OThis map of Massachusetts, from the water.weather.gov website, which has data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) highlights so of the challenges plant life in New England are facing.  On this map yellow and gold are minus 4 and 6 inches year to date, progressing to minus 12 inches in red. This map should be accessible by clicking here.  To help combat further winter dessication, try to give your plants a good watering before rolling up the hoses and putting them away for the year.
 
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rodent Exclusion & Rodent Rub Marks

This is the time of year commensal rodent (mice) exclusion becomes a priority.  Here is a view of a crawl space vent, taken at a residential home around Boston today (11-7-2013). 
 
 When viewed from a normal standing position it looks like there are no rodent entry points. 

 
When viewed from below, best done using a mirror, such as a mechanics mirror with a handle, you can see the huge gap along the top of the vent.  Notice the brown rodent rub mark on the cement edge just to the left of the metal frame of the crawl vent.  Rub marks are left on surfaces when rodents run them repeatedly and the grease and dirt from the fur of the rodent leaves a stain on the surface they run over.


 Standard exlusion materials are a supply of copper or stainless steel wool and snips to cut it.  Don't use standard steel wool, since moisture will cause it to rust and stain.  Also black polyurethane is useful to go over the copper and seal out airflow points that rodents will sniff out.
This is the mirror view or view from below with the copper in place.

This is the mirror view with the black polyurethane over the copper.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - Preparing for a winter feast

This close up photo is to show the  presence of woolly adelgid on this hemlock.  The adelgid mass is the white cottony material at the base of the green hemlock leaf, visible at the top center of this picture.  Hemlock woolly adelgid is a winter feeder, so it is gearing up for activity from mid-October to feed on the hemlock by sucking plant sap from the tree.  On heavily infested plants it looks like snow or frost on the tree.  This insect has been in Massachusetts since 1988 and is fatal to hemlocks.  More information from UMASS is available here.  We treat them either with horticultural oil application or by injected the tree with the ArborJet Tree I.V. system.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.